Solar energy is derived from the sun’s radiation. The sun is a powerful energy source. Did you know that the energy that it provides to the Earth for one hour, could meet the global energy needs for one year? We are able to harness only 0.001 percent of that energy.
There is a reason why solar energy has become a trending topic when talking about renewables. While it has been popularly criticized for being expensive or not very efficient, solar energy has now proved to be very beneficial - not only for the environment but also financially speaking. Additionally, due to the higher demand, the technology has been improved considerably, turning into a very efficient source of clean energy.
Advantages of Solar Energy
1. Renewable Energy Source
Among all the benefits of solar panels, the most important thing is that solar energy is a truly renewable energy source. It can be harnessed in all areas of the world and is available every day. We cannot run out of solar energy, unlike some of the other sources of energy. Solar energy will be accessible as long as we have the sun, therefore sunlight will be available to us for at least 5 billion years when according to scientists the sun is going to die.
2. Reduces Electricity Bills
Since you will be meeting some of your energy needs with the electricity your solar system has generated, your energy bills will drop. How much you save on your bill will be dependent on the size of the solar system and your electricity or heat usage. Moreover, not only will you be saving on the electricity bill, but if you generate more electricity than you use, the surplus will be exported back to the grid and you will receive bonus payments for that amount (considering that your solar panel system is connected to the grid). Savings can further grow if you sell excess electricity at high rates during the day and then buy electricity from the grid during the evening when the rates are lower.
3. Diverse Applications
Solar energy can be used for diverse purposes. You can generate electricity (photovoltaics) or heat (solar thermal). Solar energy can be used to produce electricity in areas without access to the energy grid, to distill water in regions with limited clean water supplies and to power satellites in space. Solar energy can also be integrated into the materials used for buildings. Not long ago Sharp introduced transparent solar energy windows.
4. Low Maintenance Costs
Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple of times per year will do the job. Most reliable solar panel manufacturers give 20-25 years warranty. Also, as there are no moving parts, there is no wear and tear. The inverter is usually the only part that needs to changed after 5-10 years because it is continuously working to convert solar energy into electricity (solar PV) and heat (solar thermal). So, after covering the initial cost of the solar system, you can expect very little spending on maintenance and repair work.
5. Technology Development
Technology in the solar power industry is constantly advancing and improvements will intensify in the future. Innovations in quantum physics and nanotechnology can potentially increase the effectiveness of solar panels and double, or even triple, the electrical input of the solar power systems.